An interview with comedy writer Glenn Boozan
The Children’s Book Review
In this episode, I talk with WGA-winning and Emmy-nominated comedy writer Glenn Boozan about her picture book for adults that sheds some humor on parenting, There Are Moms Way Worse Than You: Irrefutable Proof That You Are Indeed a Fantastic Parent.
Glenn Boozan’s credits include Conan, Comedy Central’s Lights Out with David Spade, Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America on Hulu, and TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything. She lives in Los Angeles, a 30-minute drive from her mother, which apparently is still too far.
Listen to the Interview
- About Glenn Boozan
- About There Are Moms Way Worse Than You: Irrefutable Proof That You Are Indeed a Fantastic Parent.
- How to become a comedy writer (Does a letter arrive at your door announcing you’re a comedian?).
- How Glenn Boozan’s sister inspired the original poem.
- The nasty little things that animal moms do to their offspring.
- Some things that some really famous comedians had to say about this book.
- Overcoming negative selftalk.
- Glenn Boozan’s hopes for There Are Moms Way Worse Than You: Irrefutable Proof That You Are Indeed a Fantastic Parent.
Read the Interview
Bianca Schulze: Hi. Glenn. Welcome to the Growing Reader’s Podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Glenn Boozan: Bianca, thank you for having me.
Bianca Schulze: So, the focus here on this podcast is always typically children’s books and raising readers. But for Mother’s Day, because it’s coming up soon, I wanted to talk about your picture book that is definitely not for kids.
Glenn Boozan: No, it’s not.
Before we get into the why or the what or the who inspired you to write this book, I want to talk a little about the fact that you are a comedy writer. Will you tell us how somebody becomes a comedy writer and what that looks like on a day-to-day basis?
Glenn Boozan: Well, when you turn 12, a wizard sends you a letter in the mail and says, you’re a comedy writer, Harry, and then you go to comedy school. No, it’s a much more boring process than that. I still don’t really know how to become a comedy writer.
In high school and then college and beyond, I was really into writing just in general, and I didn’t really know what kind of writing I wanted to do. And then I just pursued different sort of performance outlets or writing outlets. I took a bunch of improv classes, and I joined a comedy sketch team at my college. So, I sort of just experimented here and there until I finally realized what kind of comedy writing and what kind of stuff I wanted to do.
And I really found my voice at UCB in New York, the sketch and improv—I don’t know if it’s defuncted now, but I think it just got sold. But that’s where I realized what I really wanted to do. And I was doing a lot of sketch and improv there and then just applied for jobs and wrote and wrote and wrote. And that’s the end of the story.
Bianca Schulze: I love it.
So, just on a day-to-day basis, what does it look like to be a comedy writer? Like how does your day begin and end?
Glenn Boozan: Oh, okay. So, imagine the most stereotypical nerd with bad posture sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time, just hating everything they’re writing. That’s exactly it. Whatever you’re picturing, that’s what my day-to-day looks like.
Bianca Schulze: I love it. I love it. All right.
So, you have this great book, and it is for parents. It’s mostly for moms, but it’s actually for dads, too. Like, where did the inspiration come from?
Glenn Boozan: So, I was hanging out with my sister a year or two ago, and she has two kids. So, she was pregnant with her second and raising her toddler at the time. And she expressed to me panic and stress about being a bad mom. Or she was like, oh, I don’t know if I’m feeding my kids the right things and blah, blah, blah. And I was sort of looking at her like, Alex, what are you talking about? You’re the perfect mother.
And from an outsider’s perspective, I was stunned that she was having these feelings of self-doubt about her mothering because she’s a fantastic mom. So, what I wish I had said to comfort her was like some beautiful quote about motherhood or some smart person’s, you know. But instead, just in the moment, I just went, well, I don’t know, hamster moms eat their babies, so you’re not doing that bad. And she laughed. And so, I said, oh, okay. So, I was able to make her feel a little bit better in the moment.
And so, I wasn’t even planning on making it a book. I originally just wrote a rhyming poem as a Mother’s Day card for my sister. And then I was looking around to get somebody to illustrate it and just do a couple of drawings for it. And then my manager and his wife read it and they were like, oh, wait, we as parents, this resonates, this should be more—this should be a book. And so that’s the story of how the book was born.
Bianca Schulze: Oh, that’s so great. So, I love the fact that you’re not a parent yourself.
Glenn Boozan: I’m not.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, you wrote it. And I’m a true believer that sometimes we can get so caught up in the trenches of our own lives that it takes someone with the ability to look in from the outside to shed a little bit of light or, in this case, bring a little comedy to lighten the mood.
Glenn Boozan: Or shed a little bit of dark humor.
Bianca Schulze: Right, exactly. Dark humor is always good. And so obviously, your book is hitting the mark because it’s currently a bestseller, which is incredible.
Glenn Boozan: Thank you.
Bianca Schulze: So, I want to know, since comedy is what you do, what did the writing process look for this specific book once you decided you wanted to make it a book? And it does feature a lot of animals. And the cruel and dark things they do with their baby animals. So, like, how did you decide even which animals to feature?
Glenn Boozan: Yeah, so I did a lot of research on different animals, and I just sort of looked up different types of moms in the animal kingdom. And there are a lot of good moms in the animal kingdom, like lion moms are very good. I think dog moms tend to be pretty okay. But then there are a lot of really bad ones. And so, I wanted to find more examples than just like, oh, a hamster, mommy eats her baby—because I think a lot of people have heard that one. And I was like, oh, no, I really want to get into the nitty-gritty, like, what are some really bad animal moms? So yeah, I did a lot of research on that.
Bianca Schulze: So, out of all of your research, which one most surprised you.
Glenn Boozan: Most surprised me. That’s a good one. I will say, and I don’t know, I’m not going to use bad language, but this is gross what I’m about to say. But it’s in the book. So, a koala mom—like when you picture koalas, they’re so cute and fuzzy and you’re like, oh my gosh. And they eat little eucalyptus leaves. But I guess like the baby koalas can’t eat eucalyptus yet when they’re very young. And so, the first solid meal that a koala mom feeds her babies is her own poop, unfortunately. And I wish there was a more delicate way to say that, but it’s just disgusting.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So, I have to tell you, I’m Australian and so—
Glenn Boozan: I can hear.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, yeah. If I speak to an Australian, they tell me I don’t sound Australian anymore, which is correct. But I went to school my entire life in Australia and of course, we learned about Australian animals, including the koala. And I did not know until I read your book that baby koalas eat their mom’s poop as their first meal. I did not know that.
Glenn Boozan: It’s so gnarly. And because it’s not one of those facts, I think that if you’re a koala scientist, like if that’s your specialty, I imagine that’s not what you lead with when you’re telling people about your job. Yeah. Like when you’re giving little kids a tour of the zoo and you’re like, look at the koalas. I have to imagine it’s embarrassing to have to be like and also, for their first solid meal, the koala babies eat their mother’s feces. Anyway, moving on to the monkeys, that’s not the first thing you lead with.
Bianca Schulze: No, no. I will say that we did take zoo trips and we did go check out the koalas and, you know, like, they’re so cute, obviously, but I mean, they don’t really do a whole lot, and it always smelled a little bit like pee, to be honest.
Glenn Boozan: It sounds like a human mom’s house, quite frankly.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, totally. Well, since we’re talking about the Australian animals, I loved that you included the quokka because—
Glenn Boozan: Yes, yes.
Bianca Schulze: You don’t ever hear about quokkas. And so, I loved that. And, if anybody was to write about a Quokka, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t highlight what you highlighted—is that the moms tossed their kids to the prey as a decoy to keep themselves safe from predators. Yes, I did not know that again. So here I am, excited. Oh, look. It’s the cute quokka. And then no. Sorry. Quokkas.
Glenn Boozan: Yes. So, there’s an appendix at the back of the book that explains more about these animal facts. Because when people were reading the book, they were like, oh, I want to know, are these facts true? They’re so horrible. So, in the back of the book, I explain, like for comedy purposes, that obviously I sort of embellish a little bit. So, the Quokka mom— and the illustrator drew her like throwing her child at a dingo. But in reality, she sort of just drops it, which I was like, well, that’s not as fun. So, I would say, if you’re on a Jeopardy-like show, I guess they technically don’t throw the baby, but it’s close enough. They do drop it to getaway. So.
Bianca Schulze: All right. So well, since you brought up the illustrations, do you have a favorite illustration in the book?
Glenn Boozan: Oh, man, I have a couple. But my number one that I think of that makes me laugh every time I look at it is there’s a harp seal mom. She has left her baby on an iceberg and she’s swimming away and just flipping the baby off. And it just is so—and with a warm smile on her face. Like, I just love the energy that she’s bringing.
Bianca Schulze: I love it. I love it, too. I think every parent has maybe not done that but has at some point felt that way.
Glenn Boozan: So, behind your baby’s back, you just like, flip it off.
Bianca Schulze: Oh, man.
All right. I’m about to read some awesome praise from some really incredible names in comedy. So, Conan O’Brien said, “Glenn Boozan is a wickedly funny writer and this hilarious book is a gift to mediocre moms everywhere.”
And then Sarah Silverman said, “This book is clever and funny and silly,
but also truly needed.
Buy this book for the moms in your life,
so they know that they’ve succeeded.”
Glenn Boozan: Isn’t that one great? She wrote a whole rhyme scheme. I was like, well, it’s funnier than what I—it’s better than what I wrote.
Bianca Schulze: And then Laurie Kilmartin, the author of—and sorry, if you happen to be listening to this episode, any listeners in the car, I am about to say a bad word, so cover your kid’s ears. The author of Sh*tty Mom says, “I love this book! It sounds like a song when read out loud, and it’s so funny and sweet that I almost want to have another baby. Almost.”
Glenn Boozan: Laurie is so funny, and her book is great. You should get her book for sure.
Bianca Schulze: So, I was just curious, like, I mean, I’m assuming maybe, you know, these people in person and like, how does all this great praise for your book make you feel?
Glenn Boozan: Thank you. It feels really great. I hate asking people for favors and I don’t like asking people to do things. And so, I was like, all right, this is the one favor I’ll ask. I know them because I’ve worked for and with all these people and they’re some of the funniest people I know. And so, I was quite honored that they said yes and lent their words to my book.
Bianca Schulze: The way they described the books like, your book is so great, too. I mean. It’s all those things.
Glenn Boozan: Thank you. But I’m always like, whenever somebody writes a really good blurb for the back of the book, I’m always like, wow. In such a short span of time, you did such a great job and it’s such an impressive trait to me. And I was like, how did these people write such succinct, wonderful? And it’s like, well, because they’re the funniest people I know. That’s why they did it. That’s how they did it.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah.
On a high level, your book makes people laugh, but—
Glenn Boozan: Thank you.
Bianca Schulze: On a deeper level, although one might argue that a good belly laugh is pretty darn deep. But what impact do you hope that your book has on readers?
Glenn Boozan: I don’t think that laughter is like the cure for everything, but I do think it’s a really good starting place to sort of breakthrough or start to break through some of the shame and self-judgment that I think a lot of parents, especially moms, who I think just by default, society puts a lot of the onus and work and responsibility on them to raise future humans.
So, I hope that I can give people maybe a little bit of a reframing moment so that they realize like, oh, man, okay, I’m not doing that bad, you know, because sometimes they think—I mean, at least my sister, she’s such a good mom. And I think with that comes this quality of, oh, she’s really hard on herself. And I just look at her every day. I’m like, your daughter loves vegetables. It’s like, what are you talking about? You’re a bad mom? You’re the best mom. So, I hope I can give some ease to moms who might be feeling stressed out.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, I mean, we’re all trying our best, and we all need to believe in ourselves. And yes, I think we can often be the hardest on ourselves.
So, I’m kind of assuming like, I mean, you’re not a parent, but you’re a human, so I’m assuming that you’re no different, right? So, do you have any words of wisdom on how you manage your own negative self-talk as you mentioned at the beginning, how, you know, sometimes hunched down and hating like every single thing that you’ve written that day, you know, like, so how do you manage your own self-talk?
Glenn Boozan: That is a good question. I have sort of this phrase. I mean, I’m not always good at it. Let me start by saying that. But I have this phrase that I have started saying to myself that I find very helpful whenever I’m feeling very self- judgy. I sit down, take a breath, and say, who is this thought serving? Like, who? Who benefits from me thinking this bad thing about myself? And most of the time, when I try to find an answer, it’s no one.
Nobody benefits from me being mean to myself. My work doesn’t get done faster or doesn’t get done better. The people around me don’t like me more and it doesn’t serve anyone. And so, I think that just that little thought sometimes helps me realize, like, oh, okay, I can calm down. Like, the stakes of this are not as high as I think. If I make a mistake, that’s fine. No one’s going to die, you know? No one’s going to explode unless you’re a quokka, baby.
You know what? Unless you’re bugging me. And that’s why there are authors and writers way worse than me because it’s applicable to everyone. The quokka mom is also a worse writer than me, so I can look at this book and be like, yes, advice for myself.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, absolutely.
Here’s a question that I ask everyone, and I’m fascinated to hear your take on it as a comedy writer and not specifically as a children’s book writer. So, I always ask, to be a writer, they say you need to be a reader first. So, was there a pivotal moment when you considered yourself a reader?
Glenn Boozan: So when I was growing up, I loved, loved books. I read all the time. I was a big Nancy Drew gal. I’d read like 100 of them in a weekend or whatever. And then I think when English classes started requiring these, like, long essays that we’re analyzing the text—I started sort of feeling like reading for a long time, especially just throughout middle school, through college, whenever you have English class—sort of feeling a little bit like an assignment rather than something I was encouraged to love.
And so, I still read, and I love to read. I mean, I love books. I love books so much. I wrote one, but I wouldn’t call myself now, like quote-unquote, a reader. Like, I would feel uncomfortable telling somebody who reads like 50 books a year, like, I’m a reader. I feel like there’s a sort of hierarchy in the reading world. Like book-toks and book Instagram, and blah, blah, blah, I read 150 books in a month, blah, blah, blah. And I’m like, oh, I’ve never, I don’t know if I’ve read 150 books ever. So, I love books, but I like to take my time with them and sort of savor them. And so, I don’t read like a ton.
I would say the pivotal moment was when I was younger, learning how to read for the first time. I learned how to enjoy books. So, I would call myself a lover of stories and of writing and of words—and I think that my dad and my mom very much instilled this in me growing up. So that was the moment I think I became obsessed with words. Is being raised by my parents.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, I love it. I just love everybody always has a slightly different answer to that question. And like, there is absolutely no shame in not being a reader. And sometimes it’s like just finding that one book, and maybe it’s that one book that you read, and it stays with you for ten years. Like to me, you’re a reader. Even if that was that one book and it, you know, it stayed with you. I mean. Yeah.
So, all right. If our listeners were to take away one important point today, what would you want that to be?
Glenn Boozan: Oh, boy. Well, it sounds like a copout, but I really do want everyone to know—the moms listening—that there are moms way worse than you. I know it’s the title of the book, but I wanted the title to sort of be the message as well. And I promise you, I promise you, promise you, promise you, like my mom, sometimes we’ll talk about mistakes she made raising me and I’ll be like, I don’t remember that. I promise you; that your kids are going to love you because you’re trying your best. And it’s all right to give yourself some grace when you’re feeling bad about yourself or whatever or however you are as a parent.
Bianca Schulze: So yeah, and it’s totally fine to go put your kid in front of the TV to get that darn shower.
Glenn Boozan: Honestly. Well, here’s the thing. I think of parenting—at least from a non-parent perspective—I always say that parenting feels like being on an airplane when the oxygen masks deploy. They encourage you to put your mask on yourself before you put it on your kid because you’re unable to put the mask on your kid if you’re out of breath. So, if your kid gets to, oh, God forbid, your kid watches a fun TV show, I think we should have more screen time. I am pro iPad; I’m pro-iPhone.
Bianca Schulze: I love it. I am not against TV. Obviously, I’m a huge reader and have books in every room for my kids and my kids love to read. But yes, we work that TV out too.
Glenn Boozan: TV’s the Best Babysitter that was ever invented.
Bianca Schulze: Especially funny TV.
Glenn Boozan: Right.
Bianca Schulze: So, I want to thank you so much for coming on today, Glenn.
Glenn Boozan: Thank you so much for having me, Bianca. So fun.
Bianca Schulze: You’re welcome. And it’s just so great to have this gift to share with moms where we can just look on the light side and the bright side on the days that feel a bit harder.
Glenn Boozan: Thank you so much.
Bianca Schulze: I am not a comedy writer and I’m not very good with timing. In fact, the only time I make my family laugh is in moments like watching the movie Inside Out, where the imaginary character Bing Bong disappears. And I start hyperventilating, sobbing, and crying. My family finds that funny.
Glenn Boozan: That is the correct reaction. That was a devastating moment in cinema.
Bianca Schulze: I know, poor Bing Bong.
But so, I’m going to try my best here at a little joke pulled from your book. But I wanted to say that it is no wonder that your book is selling as fast as a quokka tosses its baby when it’s face to face with a dingo. It’s so fun.
Glenn Boozan: Oh my, gosh. That is the best. That is the best review of the book I’ve ever heard. That’s great. I might steal it.
Bianca Schulze: I love it. Well, thank you so, so much. And keep making us laugh. And keep making us smile. Thank you.
Glenn Boozan: Thank you so much. And keep reading, kids.
About the Book
Written by Glenn Boozan
Illustrated by Priscilla Witte
Adult Humor | 64 Pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company | ISBN-13: 9781523515646
Publisher’s Synopsis: A hilarious and reassuring gift for every mom: because we’re all doing the best we can, and the natural world is filled with moms worse than you!
A mom giraffe is pretty nice until the fetus drops.
She’ll birth a newborn baby calf, then kick him ’til he walks.
Whenever you feel guilty that you haven’t cleaned the house:
Sexton beetles raise their kids in a decomposing mouse.
A koala mom will feed her kids her own poop. Yes, poop. Panda moms will abandon one twin because raising two is, well, just too much. And every now and then a cuddly little hamster mom will —yup— eat her newborn pups. These and other true facts from the animal kingdom offer a hilarious reality check on what constitutes “good parenting.” So, human mother, time to stop worrying about the job you’re doing —because you’re a great mom.
Buy the Book
Visit Glenn Boozan here: https://www.instagram.com/glennboozan
Sh*tty Mom by Laurie Kilmartin
Thank you for listening to the Growing Readers Podcast episode: Glenn Boozan Discusses There Are Moms Way Worse Than You: Irrefutable Proof That You Are Indeed a Fantastic Parent. For the latest episodes from The Growing Readers Podcast, Follow Now on Spotify. For similar books and articles, you can check out all of our content tagged with Adult Books and Books for Mother’s Day.
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May 3, 2022 at 12:32PM Bianca Schulze